Pope Francis says that mercy is “the bridge that connects God and [human beings].” His call for a Year of Mercy is the call to authentic Christian living modelled after the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Loving Mercy is our response to this universal call. The series gets its name from the famous line from the prophet Micah:
“And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
– Micah 6:8, NIV
How can we actually “love mercy”? By going to the core biblical foundations of Catholic social teaching we find truths that are not hard to love: justice for all humankind, protection of the vulnerable, comfort for the afflicted, and forgiveness for the sinner. The Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy are the foundation of this series.
This resource is structured as a 17-day series that can be used for weekly faith sharing gatherings over 17 weeks. Using an Ignatian structure, the series is bookended by two “Disposition Days” and one “Appropriation Day”, which respectively help one prepare for a long prayer experience and process the graces afterwards. Each of the 14 other days focuses on a specific Work of Mercy.
Each day offers a relevant scripture reading, a few reflection questions which can be used to prompt discussion, a “Call to Mercy” from a contemporary writer, and a “Response of Mercy” which allows one to discern a personal and practical call to action.
Included in the PDF:
- A full introduction to the series
- Leader guidance – a recommendation of how to structure each gathering
- Suggested formats based on time available and frequency of meeting
- 17 single-page handouts for group participants
- An appendix of music suggestions for each of the 17 days
- An appendix of web links to the full text of most of the “Call to Mercy” contemporary excerpts
- Printable sheets with each day’s scripture reading from the New American Bible Revised Edition
By offering the Loving Mercy series with your parish, school, or group, you help create within the church a greater awareness of the Works of Mercy. It is a response to Pope Francis’ desire:
It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy. Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples.